Why do militaers have hot women

Women in the army: Help, but not fight


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A musketeer named Anastasius Lagrantinus Beuerlein, also known as Caspar Beuerlein, was one of the troops of the Electorate of Hanover in the War of the Spanish Succession in 1705. A soldier like any other. Outwardly anyway. But a woman was hidden under the men's clothes: Catharina Margaretha Linck. One of not so few female soldiers who earned their living in a profession that would have been closed to them without a masquerade. Catharina was in the Hanoverian, Prussian, Hessian and Polish military service. Friedrich Wilhelm I sentenced her to death by the sword for "sodomy", which meant same-sex intercourse.

There are numerous stories of women fighting in men's clothes. Above all, they show one thing: for centuries the battlefield was an exclusive place for men. War and violence are historically masculine, while peace is feminine. One of the longest-standing images of apparently natural masculinity and femininity is the dualism of the fighting man and the peaceful woman. For a long time women could only fight by posing as men. In the literary reception, women who fight in men's clothing are considered monsters. If, on the other hand, the female warrior wears a skirt like Schiller's Johanna von Orleans and draws her physical strength from her virginity, she is a heroine comparatively harmless for men.

Women went to war out of a thirst for adventure and patriotism, but also to escape an emergency situation, to pursue sexual relationships with other women or to follow their husbands who were doing military service. Such "baggage women" were not recognized soldiers, but they often formed a kind of equal community with the men. In the 18th century, the growing need for mercenaries and lax recruitment methods encouraged women to enter the military clandestinely. But when the troops were barracked as a result and there was hardly any "baggage" left, it became increasingly difficult for women to mingle with the men.

The First World War marked a turning point: women were now increasingly appearing in essential military services. A number of women - in line with the traditional role model of female care - were employed as nurses in the medical service. But instead of the men who stood at the front, they also worked in armaments factories. But the front itself, the zone of violence, was denied them. It is precisely this space that defines the soldier: The legitimate exercise of violence on the battlefield, fighting and killing, is the core of the craft of war. It is only the access to this area of ​​violence and the access to the weapon that make the soldier into a soldier. Even if the distinction between civilians and combatants began to blur as early as the First World War - the spheres of "male" combat and "female" auxiliary service remained strictly separate.

The fact that women also had to do men's work due to the shortage of personnel on the "home front" was not a step towards emancipation, but rather was understood as an emergency solution for the time of the war. Nevertheless, the female war effort made a significant contribution to the fact that women in Germany were given the right to vote in 1918.



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World War II, which involved civilians far more than the first, brought women closer to the battlefield than ever before. But they were still not allowed to enter it.

Around 500,000 women each were in the service of the Wehrmacht and the Reich Air Protection Association, 400,000 worked for the Red Cross. 10,000 served in the concentration camps and with the SS Einsatzgruppen. In addition, there are more than 50,000 young women who, in addition to the Reich Labor Service, did their six-month military service.

The basis for the operation was an ordinance from 1938, according to which all citizens could be called upon to provide so-called emergency services. Often young women also volunteered to escape the boredom of their homeland or because they wanted to serve the "national community". As in the First World War, women were active as paramedics, but during the Second World War their scope of action expanded far beyond that, as the historian Franka Maubach has shown using the example of the military assistants. Women penetrated more deeply into the military world than in World War I, were used in communications, in the military staff or in air defense, but always at a reasonable distance from the front. As anti-aircraft weapons helpers, they operated the searchlights with which enemy bombers were illuminated in the sky at night, and thus actively assisted the killing. They were still forbidden to operate the guns themselves.

A text by Ruth Hildebrand, employee of the Reichsfrauenführung of the NSDAP, which in 1939 expressly understands female military service as war aid, is illuminating: "Aid" is a fundamental feminine quality. In the National Socialist ideology, women should also see themselves as fighters, but in "their" world, in the feminine defined fields of care and helping - or, more traditionally, on the "bearing front". They were "fighters" only because they belonged to the "national community", not because of their gender.

In 1936, Hitler announced in a speech to the Nazi women's group: "As long as we have a healthy male sex [...], no female hand grenade launchers department and no female sniper corps will be formed in Germany." Pilots like Melitta von Stauffenberg and Elly Beinhorn, who did test flights with fighter planes, remained exceptions.